Explaining multiseat benefits

Following on the announcement of Windows Multipoint Server 2010, HP has announced their first product to connect with it: The HP MultiSeat thin client T100. It’s a DisplayLink-based device with VGA, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, and audio. It’s a focused competitor to the product that Plugable sells here, and they do a great job of explaining the benefits in video form here and here.

DisplayLink’s new thin client materials also provide a bunch of additional detail, with good bullet points on why simple USB connectivity provides real value for this scenario.

Companies like Sun, nComputing, Miniframe, and Userful have sold products for Windows and Unix in this space for some time. The unix world has had various forms of multiseat capability forever — not to speak of traditional X terminals and all the thin client network protocols like RDP, ICA, and VNC on Windows and Unix, which people think of first when they think of terminals.

But when it comes to true multiseat (locally connected devices, treated as terminals), Linux has had it first, has lots of advantages in terms of licensing cost and performance, has gotten hundreds of thousands of seats in use — and yet hasn’t quite make it easy enough for end users for it to reach its full audience.

So these new product launches, now with Microsoft on board, definitely have the ability to raise more awareness of the potential of this scenario. It’s a challenge to the Unix and Linux crowd to leverage their built in advantages — and continue working on the shortcomings of Linux as a client desktop — in order to continue to provide compelling competition in this market.

Either way, the additional exposure is great for communicating the potential of multiseat.